IRELAND senior women’s basketball head coach James Weldon has picked five Cork girls in his final 12-person squad for the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries, which take place in Nicosia, Cyprus from July 20th- 25th.
The five are Grainne Dwyer from Fr Mathew's, Claire Rockall, Claire Melia and Aine McKenna from Glanmire and Edel Thornton from Singleton's SuperValu Brunell.
There are two uncapped players in the senior squad - Maree’s Dayna Finn, who also plays Gaelic Football for Mayo, and DCU Mercy’s Rachel Huijsdens.
Both players have significant underage experience, winning a silver medal at the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship in 2017 and bronze at the FIBA U20 Women’s European Championship in 2019.
Sorcha Tiernan and Claire Melia were also part of those Irish underage medal-winning sides and have already earned senior Irish caps.
Melia is one of three players from Glanmire in the squad, with Aine McKenna and Claire Rockall also selected.
There are two players each from DCU Mercy and Liffey Celtics (Full squad list below).
Speaking about his selection, Irish senior women’s head coach James Weldon said: “Since we were allowed to return to train as a team in April I have been so impressed by the commitment, dedication and preparation of our squad members, working with our management team.
"Consequently, it was a difficult decision to select a final squad, with so many talented and exceptional players to choose from. We are really looking forward to the FIBA European Championship for Small Countries in Cyprus in July, eager to give a good account of ourselves and challenge for honours. The team return to National Basketball Arena this weekend to build on the work we have done so far.”
Ireland’s opening game is against Andorra on July 20th, followed by Pool A top seeds Malta on July 22nd.
They were also due to face Norway in their pool, but they’ve pulled out of the tournament.
Pool B comprises of Luxembourg, Cyprus and Kosovo. Gibraltar were originally in Pool B, but they’ve also withdrawn from participating.
The competition is played in a round-robin format, the top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals on July 24th, while the third-placed teams face off in the 5th/6th place classification game on the same day.
The final and 3rd/4th place playoff take place on July 25th.